Hexahatch Incubator Prototype Construction and Testing

In the last few weeks I’ve constructed the Hexahatch egg incubator and am now testing it. Here are some pictures of how to make it:

It started with Marcin drawing up the basic idea.


Then I worked the sketch into a design.

When we were satisfied with the initial design, we got the 4 inch drainage pipe for the egg holders and I cut it into sections.

I drilled holes and attached the pipe sections with small bolts. One of the sections came out wrong so instead of one solid piece in the middle I just used two smaller sections on the ends which worked okay.

I drilled holes in the caps for the rod.

I cut the sheet of OSB for the box. It was designed to be several equally sized pieces.

I attached the OSB pieces together by pre-drilling holes and then screwing them together.

I cut the sheet of insulation and put it in the box.

I drilled the 2×4′s and bushings and attached them.

I tried putting the threaded rod through the egg holder and the bushings. The egg holder is fixed to the treaded rod with washers and nuts.

But we found that the vertical 2×4′s weren’t stable enough on their own, so we had to change the design to have the rear bushing be directly on the box frame, and the front bushing on a piece of OSB attached to a horizontal 2×4. The lights and thermostat are attached to the horizontal 2×4 and OSB support which can be removed for cleaning and maintenance. The plan was to have metal pieces through slats in the tubes that slide out, but we didn’t have anything at the moment so I just used some wire to hold the eggs in. It looks odd, but it seems to work. The temperature is holding steady at around 99-100 degrees F.

The fan is from an old broken inverter, it’s like any small computer fan. It needs it’s own transformer plug though, as the regular electrical current will fry the motor.

We don’t have the motor and coupler yet, so I just attached a manual turning handle for testing.

I attached the front door with a 2×4 and some old hinges. Plus, I put in a water basin inside to keep up the humidity. And that’s it, it seems to be working fine so far. I added 54 eggs on April 26th, so we should be able to count our new chickens when they hatch around May 16th. I’ll continue to refine the design and construction procedure and work on an open business plan. I’m looking for reviews of most of the main incubators on the market, has anyone seen a comprehensive review of all of them?

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9 Comments »

  1. Marcin said,

    April 29, 2009 @ 6:17 pm

    Excellent, thorough documentation, Jeremy. Thanks.

    By the way, the materials cost is $70 – for an automatic incubator of 50-60 egg capacity. It’s essentially lifetime design – where any problem can be fixed readily by replacing parts. It’s designed for disassembly.

  2. Nick said,

    April 29, 2009 @ 8:39 pm

    Nice work Jeremy! As Marcin said, great job on the documentation.

  3. mimarob said,

    April 30, 2009 @ 7:30 am

    Hehe, yes I guess I could’ve hacked away one of these myself without being too clever.

    The important learning, I think, is the fact that you actually need one!!!

    I would probably otherwise spend a few years wondering why there are no chickens, replacing the rooster ever so often :-)

    I talked to a few friends about it and they all found it weird that many hens no longer know how to turn their eggs. This implies that they are totally dependent on mankind for its existence…

  4. Domini Mariano said,

    May 6, 2009 @ 8:27 am

    Nice! I need to build one of this. We have about 15 ducks and 10 hens laying eggs but it’s all scattered around the property and they never go back to it. This will help in increasing our poultry stock. Excellent documentation. Thanks!

  5. Lost Chief said,

    May 6, 2009 @ 10:00 am

    My flock (sold them a few weeks ago before hitting the road) in the spring hens would dissapear and i would think they got eaten but a couple weeks later they would pop up with 20 chicks in tow. I would go find the nests and usually only 1 or 2 eggs didnt hatch. The very best hens i had for hatching by far were the TURKENS & a COCHIN. They not only hatched all the eggs every time but they would defend the chicks to the death from hawks or any other creature.

    My advice is to add a few of those 2 breeds to your flock because usually all the hens lay in one or 2 nests and one of those breeds above will care for the eggs.

    I love watching baby chicks run around anl the sounds of the chicks and hens talking is great. I can just sit every morning and enjoy watching them follow thier momma around as she teaches them whats good to eat. And how they hand out in the sun in the morning to warm up..

    Peace

  6. Fikru said,

    July 20, 2009 @ 1:44 am

    For last 2 months I have been searching to buy an incubator for my small poultry business. But I couldn’t find small sized incubator at affordable price in my country. So I decided to experiment it myself and searching information for that matter. Your incubator construction is very clear and seem simple and inexpensive to construct. I have many appreciation for you posting such well documented material on the web.

  7. HexaHatch Review | Open Source Ecology said,

    July 9, 2010 @ 3:55 pm

    [...] been a while since we reported on the Hexahatch project. Here are the results of the first test. We started collecting eggs in an insulated chest in [...]

  8. FITSUM said,

    January 31, 2011 @ 2:26 am

    Dear Sir

    I am a farmer in Ethiopia, I would like to build my own incubator. I am inspired by your techniques. Will you help me with ideas if i start constructing it. SO, to start with please send me more pictures and designs,(your design does not load on the page).

    FITS
    Thank you

  9. egg incubators said,

    December 18, 2012 @ 11:08 pm

    Great job! Thanks for sharing. I am looking forward to build my own incubator soon as well. This post gives me an excellent idea. Staying tuned for more.

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